Being outspoken isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Speaking up when we see something happening and we know it’s wrong is encouraged. Isn’t that what we teach our children? Even law enforcement constantly tells us, “if you see something, say something.”

However, there’s a difference between being outspoken and being brash and uncouth. Donald Trump falls into the latter category, though many would argue that it’s simply the New Yorker in him that isn’t appealing to people. On the contrary, there are many New Yorkers who are well spoken and outspoken, but do so with dignity.

For the past four years, the president has unleashed verbal and social media assaults on many of his opponents, as well as the media and anyone else who dares to disagree with him.

As a result, it appears that this type of behavior has become acceptable to those who admire him — and even some that do not. After all, if the president can talk to people in a certain way, it must be OK, right? Wrong.

If we’ve learned anything from the past four years, it’s that people will use any excuse for bad behavior — and they’ll defend it.

Trump simply opened Pandora’s Box for rude behavior to run rampant. Now we have people arguing on social media, threatening each other, using racial slurs and all other manner of disgusting behavior. That’s not to say it wasn’t happening before, because it certainly was, but it seems to have ramped up over the past few years.

People who engage in that type of behavior have likely always been that way, but with a president who outwardly acts in such a way, it’s like getting carte blanche to be rotten.

Will things change with a new president? Probably not. Those who degrade and demean others will likely continue to do it. The values that most of us grew up with (respecting our elders and each other, helping those in need and being kind) seem to have fallen to the wayside. Even some older folks who should know better, don’t hold back. They’re sometimes the first ones to hurl an insult.

Working in the newspaper business oftentimes puts us in the line of fire for those insults. Add to that racial slurs, getting cussed out and even sometimes threatened, and you get the picture. People have changed — and not for the better.

So what can we do? We have no control over others’ actions, but we can control our own, as well as our reaction to certain situations.

So before you call that customer service rep and cuss them out or scream at someone because you didn’t get what you wanted, perhaps you should take a few minutes to think about what you’re going to say.

At the end of the day, arguing with someone over politics or religion or screaming at someone, probably isn’t worth the time spent uttering the words.

Besides, you’re not going to be looked at or admired for being  outspoken, you’ll just be another rude person.

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